Roadrunners hold on against Fresno Pacific

By Vincent Perez/ Assistant Sports Editor

By Vincent Perez

Assistant Sports Editor

Overconfidence almost got the best of the CSU Bakersfield women’s basketball team in their home opener. The Roadrunners fought their way to a 74-63 win against Division II Fresno Pacific University on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

CSUB (1-1) had four players in double digits against the Sunbirds.

Junior forward Malaysia McHenry shot 6-for-12, with 14 points and senior forward Aja Williams shot 5-for-8, with 12 points. Sophomore guards Daije Harris, shot 5-for-9, with 12 points and Kate Tokuhara finished with 12 points, with two 3-pointers.

“We gave up too many points … but against a team like this, that you know that you have an advantage of, you’ve got to avoid this,” said Head Coach Greg McCall. “We got to do things on both ends of the floor.”

However, he said that he was happy with the way the team played because they played with more energy and effort.

McCall said, “Defensively, we just got to keep working.”

The Roadrunners trailed Fresno Pacific 10-4 with 4:45 left in the first quarter. Freshman forward/center Vanessa Austin made a layup which cut into the Sunbirds’ lead, 10-6. Tokuhara added two free throw shots to inch the Roadrunners closer, 10-8. Then, junior guard/forward, Megan Lee, of Fresno Pacific drained a 3-pointer at 3:30, which gave the Sunbirds a lead of 13-8.

CSUB fought back late in the first quarter.

Williams contributed her first two points of the game in the first quarter and CSUB took a 14-13 lead with 1:15 left. The Roadrunners led 18-16 at the end of the first quarter thanks to a last-second layup from Williams, which had to be reviewed at the beginning of the second quarter, which was confirmed.

CSUB shot 16-for-38 by the end of the first half and led Fresno Pacific, 38-33.

In the third quarter, the Roadrunners were fouled six times and led 58-49 at the end of the third. The Roadrunners would put on defensive pressure to close out the fourth quarter.

Wasting no time, McCall made the move to full-court press Fresno Pacific. An early turnover by Fresno Pacific earned CSUB a 62-49 lead from Harris and Williams’ layups in the fourth quarter, with 8:47 left in the game.

McHenry led the Roadrunners to a 71-57 lead after her two-pointer with 3:22 left in the game and the Roadrunners never looked back.

McHenry said their win came down to the team finishing layups. She added, “The post-play in specific, we didn’t finish well today. The perimeter [players] came and helped us well with that.”

She said about her own game, “[I want to improve] just finishing around the basket, boxing out more and getting aggressive [in the game].”

Harris said, “It felt like we had a better offensive rhythm.” She said that it would be better to blow Fresno Pacific out by more points but that she’s excited more for the win coming off the loss against UTEP.

CSUB lost on the road Nov. 11 at UTEP, 56-67. A few bright spots for the Roadrunners were redshirt-junior guard, Jazmine Johnson, who scored 15 points, junior guard, Alexxus Gilbert scored 10 points and senior guard Alize Lofton shot 2-for-4.

CSUB next takes on San Jose State (0-1), Friday, Nov. 17, on their two-game road trip, followed by a visit to No. 14 Stanford (0-2) on Sunday, Nov. 19.

McCall said, “We got our work cut out again. But we’re ready for it. This is a good game [against Fresno Pacific] for us to have to see what we need to work on.”

Senior forward Aja Williams puts up a shot in the paint against Fresno Pacific on Tuesday, Nov. 14 in the Icardo Center.

Photo by Simer Khurana

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